The day began as every other one so far has: grogginess and an overwhelming reluctance to get out of one’s sleeping bag and into the cold, damp Ecuadorian mountain air. Having acclimatised successfully we were able to eat our staple breakfast of porridge and pack away in no time.
As we boarded the bus to Puerto Quito, we took our final looks at the mountain ranges we had just trekked; the blankets of snow and cloud wrapped around them, like stone giants slumbering.
The bus journey was an opportunity to catch up on some well-needed sleep. It was only four hours long but when we stepped out it was like we had been teleported to a different country; the descent of four thousand metres was noticed, to say the least. As we exited the bus we were struck by a wall of hot, humid air.
So after a brief walk we were perspiring, although whether it was from anticipation or the heat it was hard to say. Therefore, the sight of the aptly placed river was a blessing. We spent the majority of the afternoon in the river, cooling off, washing and relaxing.
Understandably we had quite an appetite at this point, so the steak we had for dinner was devoured. However, the best was still to come. Gabriel, the hostel manager, had toasted some fresh cocoa beans. We then ground them, added them into a sugar cane and milk sauce and ate it hot with freshly sliced pineapple and banana- without a doubt it was the culinary highlight of the trip so far.
(Ed. 9.30 pm, Mr Lamb has gone to bed, as have all the guys, only Mr McMillan and I remain. For me, this is a common experience gained from previous World Challenge trips I’ve been on, listening to all the sounds of the jungle before heading to bed. However, what I have noticed today is the contrast between yesterday’s mountain ascent and the lush, warm and moist climate I find myself in today. Mr McMillan seems to be enjoying the ambiance too currently lying in one of the hammocks our host has around this fabulous place. I’m pretty sure he has made up his mind for a South East Asian ‘jungle expedition’ in 2016.
Buenas Noches everyone)
By Louis Magowan